838284 Pte. John Godden was born on January 27th, 1896, in Lewisham, Kent, England. A "home boy", John was sent to Canada in 1906, by well meaning authorities, in the hopes that he would find a better life in the Dominion of Canada.

Upon arrival in Canada young John initially lived with Henry Leinweber in the Village of Shakespeare, Perth County, Ontario. Striking out on his own John was living and working as a farm hand in Hanover when hostilities broke out.

John joined the 31st Regiment and was a member of the two independent infantry companies being raised by them for overseas service. Assigned to the new 147th (Grey), John attested to it, in Owen Sound, on November 29th, 1915, and was assigned to "B" Company under Captain Mercer.

Billeted locally over the winter, the battalion left for Camp Niagara in late May. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting, the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June. In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th, 1916.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. John was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on March 7th, 1917, and sent to the Canadian Corps Reserve Company for further training.

Rejoining the unit in August, John became a casualty in October of 1917, when he developed trench foot. Medically evacuated he spent some time in England adding an STD to his medical history, before he rejoined the unit in late May of 1918. The great German spring offensive was coming to an end. In the work up for the Allies' counter strike, the 4th C.M.R. was moved south in preparation for the battle that would launch the final 100 days of the Canadian Corps string of successes. Making it through the Battle of Amiens, John became a casualty once again when he was gassed on August 25th, 1918, just before the Battle of Arras.

Medically evacuated for a short time, John returned to the unit in time to march on Mons. Coming down with the Spanish Flu later that month, John was evacuated for a third time, again finding himself back in England. Upon recovery John was posted to 1st C.O.R.D. where he was certified as a 1st class clerk. In May of 1919 he was granted permission to marry and was promoted Acting Sergeant by the time he left for Canada.

His change in marital status may have also delayed his departure for home, for when 838284 Sergeant John Godden sailed for home on the S.S. Scandinavian, he did so with his wife. Disembarking at Quebec City on September 17th, 1919, he was struck off strength of the C.E.F. the following day.

Credit and many thanks go George Auer for the above biography.